What does God sound like?
Anyone who grew up in the New York metropolitan area between the mid-1950s through the early parts of this decade knows the answer: Bob Sheppard. The long-time New York Yankees public address announcer, 99, died at his Long Island home July 11.
No matter how bad or good the Yankees were during the 1970s, the kids playing ball at Edgemere Park in Long Island, particularly the Met fans, knew our American League rivals had us beat at one position every home game. Sheppard, a university-level speech professor by profession, announced games at the old Yankee Stadium for more than 50 years (1951-2006).
It was his vocal manner, both regal and accessible, and his tone, sonorous yet sophisticated, that set him apart, that led those kids playing baseball or softball on long summer days to imitate him. “Batting sixth, number 24, Joe Feuerherd,” I would slowly and clearly intone, as if it was Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth approaching the batter’s box.